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NDRF Deputes Highest-ever Number of Teams for Odisha, Bengal; Over 10L Evacuated Amid Cyclone Yaas

East Midnapore: Police personnel patrol along a coastal area ahead of Cyclone 'Yaas' landfall at Digha in East Midnapore district

East Midnapore: Police personnel patrol along a coastal area ahead of Cyclone 'Yaas' landfall at Digha in East Midnapore district

The federal contingency force has committed a total of 113 teams for deployment in five states and the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has earmarked its highest-ever number of teams for deployment in Odisha and West Bengal to undertake relief and rescue operations during cyclone Yaas, its chief S N Pradhan said on Tuesday. He added that according to reports received from the state governments, more than 8 lakh people have been evacuated to safety in West Bengal, the same figures for Odisha were over 2 lakh locals.

The federal contingency force has committed a total of 113 teams for deployment in five states and the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands which are expected to be affected by the cyclone brewing in the Bay of Bengal. Out of these, 104 teams are deployed on ground while nine have been kept on “high alert" in these states, an NDRF spokesperson said. Among the teams deployed, the highest number of 52 teams are designated for Odisha followed by 45 teams for West Bengal. The rest of the teams are being stationed in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the spokesperson said. NDRF director general (DG) Pradhan said that this was the “highest ever" commitment of his teams in Odisha and West Bengal. He said in Odisha, the previous record was of 50 teams that were deployed during cyclone Fani in 2019 while in West Bengal the highest deputation was of 30 teams during cyclone Amphan that hit its coast last year.

Each NDRF team has 47 personnel who are equipped with tree and pole cutters, communication gadgets, inflatable boats and basic medical aid. “All this has happened because as an extra measure of precaution and preparation as the central and state governments, on the basis of lessons learnt from earlier cyclones including the recent Tauktae, are very focussed on minimising damage to life and property and targeting zero casualty," Pradhan said.

“There was agreement on this in meetings chaired by the prime minister, the home minister, the cabinet secretary and the home secretary on Yaas and states were in agreement," he said in a video message issued just after 6 PM. “It is hoped that the efforts of state government and district administration will not flag and we will be able to ensure minimal casualties and minimum damage to property," he said. The DG said Yaas was “right now" situated as a severe cyclonic storm about 300 km from the coasts of Odisha and West Bengal and it is very likely to develop into a severe to very severe cyclonic storm and make landfall early morning on Tuesday somewhere between Dhamra and Chandbali on the Odisha coast.

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The Met department has said that the cyclone can possess a speed of 155 kmph-165 kmph, gusting up to 185 kmph.

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first published:May 25, 2021, 21:16 IST